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A pan-Indian network of Tantric Śākta pilgrimage sites, each marking a spot where, according to the myth of Śiva's dismemberment of Satī, parts of the Goddess's body fell to earth and are manifested in the local topography. According to a variety of traditions and textual sources, the network can include anything from 4 to 108 pīthas, or, indeed, any or all of the innumerable temples dedicated to Devī across the subcontinent. Kāmarūpa in Assam, where a spring-moistened cleft in the rock represents Satī's yoni, is considered by many to be the original śaktipīṭha, as well as the most important. It is included in the earliest (7th century Buddhist) list of four ‘great’ pīṭhas (mahāpīṭha); the others are named as Jālandhara (in the Punjab), Oḍiyāṇa/Uḍḍiyāṇa (in the Swat Valley), and Pūrṇagiri (no longer known). Another well-known list of 51 śāktipīṭhas includes Kālīghāṭ and Jvālāmukhī. See also Devī.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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